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Youth Villages Intercept Program Model Receives Well-Supported Designation from Family First Clearinghouse

Jan 25, 2022 | Intercept, News Releases, Pressroom

Memphis, Tenn. (Jan. 25, 2022) – The Youth Villages Intercept program model has been rated as well-supported by the Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse.

The rating was announced today and is based on two studies led by Dr. Fred Wulczyn’s team from the Center for State Child Welfare Data at Chapin Hall at The University of Chicago. The studies found that the Intercept model’s comprehensive in-home services had positive impacts on placement prevention and on reunification with family after placement in foster care. Intercept is one of only 12 programs to earn the well-supported distinction from the Clearinghouse.

The Clearinghouse was established by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an objective and transparent review of research on programs and services intended to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements. It determines what services can be funded under the Family First Prevention Services Act.

Every year, more than four million families across the country find themselves at a difficult crisis point that could cause a child to be placed in foster care or an out-of-home treatment program. Family intervention specialists intercept struggling families, helping them find their way to well-being with behavioral and emotional health interventions for the child and systemic support for every member of the family. In 2021, Youth Villages helped more than 10,000 families in 13 states using Intercept.

“Nearly 30 years ago, Youth Villages made intensive in-home services the foundation of everything we do,” said CEO Patrick Lawler. “This endorsement is a testament to the work of thousands of family intervention specialists and will enable the expansion of the program through direct services and implementing agency partners to help more children and families across the country. We appreciate the Clearinghouse’s role in helping states identify evidence-based programs. The Family First Act’s commitment to providing support for families is a transformational moment for child welfare.”

Two evaluations of Intercept were conducted by the Center for State Child Welfare Data at Chapin Hall using data made available by the state of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

  • The first study looked at two important child welfare outcomes:
    • Placement Prevention: Intercept reduced the chances of out-of-home placement by 53% following the first maltreatment investigation. Youth in the study had a first maltreatment report between January 2013 and June 2018. The effect of Intercept was sustained at six and 12 months after Intercept services ended.
    • Permanency: Compared to a matched comparison group, after controlling for how long they were in care, the odds of achieving permanency were approximately 24% higher for the Intercept group.
  • The second study replicated the findings related to placement prevention
    • Examining a more recent sample of youth with a first maltreatment report between July 2018 and December 2020, Intercept reduced the chances of out-of-home placement by 37% following a maltreatment investigation. Note that the observation window was shorter for this study, which may partially account for the difference in findings.

Intercept is a comprehensive, systemic approach that lightens the load of family stress and instability for parents or caregivers, stepping in to help children with emotional and behavioral problems, as well as every member of the family. Specialists help children and families learn ways to address mental health needs, assist with schools and teachers, promote the family’s financial and housing stability, work in the neighborhood and with children’s peers, and provide 24-hour, in-person crisis support to families.

Youth Villages began intensive in-home services in 1995, through initial funding from the Plough Foundation, and the Intercept program became an integral part of child welfare reform in the state of Tennessee.

About Youth Villages
Youth Villages is a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health committed to building strong families, delivering effective services and significantly improving outcomes for children, families and young people involved in child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems across the country. Founded in 1986, the organization’s 3,400 employees help more than 32,000 children annually in 23 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia. Youth Villages has been recognized by the Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. Learn more at